Joe by the Book – Be Somebody
Some kids get rich and inherit great wealth, others inherit poverty. Not much to do about it. The same goes with folks growing up in Ol’ Limey, once the cultural hub of the world. Their inheritance is comprised of the sounds, swagger, and dark sense of humour that so many throughout the world are trying to copy.
For many generations, the world has been in love with clever, charismatic British musicians. You will well remember groupies falling over themselves in the scenes to Almost famous, a movie inspired by Cameron Crowe’s teenage years in which he dutifully followed Brit musicians across the States.
So it goes. Being born in England and starting a band, is like being told a couple of numbers being picked in next week’s lottery. It guarantees you a front-row to great music, great football, as well as terrible food, weather, and a disintegrating empire. Can’t win ’em all.
Joe by the Book’s Be Somebody is the sort of tune thrown about by clever, English upstarts. Their routine would be another foreign band’s moment of genius. The track finds the right pacing, humour, and nonchalance of indie-rock with great ease. It surely leaves kids out in Germany, South America, and Eastern Europe wondering what working-class lad might write and just what’s the big deal with working men’s clubs and Harry Kane.
Locomotive – Perceived Freedom
People always seem to surprise when I tell them that new grunge and alternative-rock bands with a 90s flair still exist and prosper. It’s true that the sounds and fashion of those bands that enjoyed tremendous mainstream attention back in the early part of that fabled decade are so tightly tied to the era that one might assume it went away along with the Spice Girls and acid-wash denim.
However, in many ways, the success of alternative music, on radio, television, and within other means of mainstream exposure was a distillation of sounds produced throughout decades. It usually contained the guitar heroics of classic rock, the energy and earnestness of punk, and the catchiness of pop.
Locomotive, the brainchild of experienced musician John Magill, draws from those sounds and treats them as classic heirlooms, as they should be. Perceived Freedom is, possibly, one of the niftiest vocal melodies he has ever come up with, while the lyrics deal with the decline of society and the apathy characterizing many of its members. Yes, grunge and alt-rock are alive, well, and still using the strength of their music to cover important topics.